Treacherous Women of Imperial Japan
Patriarchal Fictions, Patricidal Fantasies
Routledge – 2004 – 292 pages
Kanno Suga and Kaneko Fumika were both found guilty on different occasions in 1911 and 1926 of conspiring to assassinate the Japanese emperor. Kanno was executed and Kaneko hanged herself whilst in prison, but both women maintained their defiance of the state even in the face of death.
Through examination of their own life stories and writings, Helene Bowen Raddeker brings to life the women's own interpretations of their lives and their attitudes to death, with the associations of political martyrdom, heroism and notions of immortality. She finds that their self-presentations became weapons in an ideological war of words about social and political realities and their deaths were a means of self-empowerment within their historical context.